There are lots of tablets to choose from at the moment but Viewsonic has come up with a new wheeze with its the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro. If you aren’t sure whether you want a Windows tablet or an Android one, you can choose the ViewPad 10 Pro and have both.
The ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro is available in a number of different configurations, and you can opt to add 3G into the mix if you want. Whichever you go for, you get Windows 7 Professional and Android 2.2. An earlier 10in dual-OS tablet from ViewSonic offered Windows 7 Home Premium and Android 1.6.
Pairing Windows 7 and Android is actually quite a smart thing to do, and it is implemented fairly cleverly. Android sits on top of Windows, and runs in a player provided by a company called BlueStacks. Because both operating systems are running at the same time, you get some interesting crossover.
For example, there are USB and microSD card slots on the left edge of the chassis. Pop a drive or card in when you’re using Android and the Windows 7 file browser opens, allowing you to open documents and files into Windows apps. Windows device drivers also work in Android, so you can use a mouse and keyboard to open and control apps. We attached a wireless keyboard and a wired mouse and both were fine.
With HDMI-out, you can send content to a bigger screen if you want to, and the tablet comes in 16GB and 32GB versions which you can expand with microSD cards as needed. Storage capacity might be low for Windows, but it’s not bad for Android.
As far as size and weight go, at 850g for the Wi-Fi plus 3G version and measurements of 263x174x14.9-16.5mm the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro is a bit on the chunky side.
A few hiccups
If all this sounds great, there are a few things ViewSonic needs to work on if it wants to hit perfection. On the hardware side, the 10.1in screen delivers a resolution of 1024×600 pixels and is, as you’d expect, capacitive – so it offers all-important multi-touch functions such as ‘pinch-to-zoom’. It has a very shiny, reflective finish, which we found a bit irritating in most conditions. Outside, we regret to report, the screen is almost unviewable in sunlight.
Battery life isn’t great, either. We ran a movie from a USB stick from a full battery charge choosing the Windows Balanced power setting, and we got just under four hours of life from it. That’s set against a claimed battery life of eight hours – and a little disappointing, given the fact that the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro runs Intel’s new Atom Z670 processor, designed for tablets and other portable kit, which promises good battery life as one of its key features.
Android without the Market
There’s another niggle too. The version of Android 2.2 supplied by BlueStacks doesn’t come with the full Android Market. According to a notification on the device you can get the full market, but only in the US. Other have to settle for a subset of Market apps that have been tested and approved for use with the tablet.
- Dual Windows and Android operating systems.
- Dodgy battery life; lacks full Android Market; screen poor in bright sunlight.
We really like the idea of having both Android and Windows on the same tablet, but we aren't sure ViewSonic has quite got everything right here. We want the full Android Market for sure, and better battery life too. And with Android Honeycomb out there, which is designed specifically for big-screen tablets such as this, the inclusion of Android 2.2 feels out of date and under-featured.